/bi lok"see, -luk"-/, n.a city in SE Mississippi, on the Gulf of Mexico. 49,311.
* * *Coastal city (pop., 2000: 50,644), southeastern Mississippi, U.S. Located east of Gulfport, it grew out of Fort Louis (established 1719); a nearby earlier fort, Fort Maurepashad, was the Mississippi valley's first permanent European settlement (1699).Biloxi has been under the flags of France, Spain, Britain, the West Florida Republic, and the Confederacy. By the late 20th century, casino gambling had become its chief industry, augmented by fishing and seafood processing. Beauvoir, Jefferson Davis's last home, is nearby.
* * *city, coseat (with nearby Gulfport) of Harrison county, southern Mississippi, U.S. The city lies on a narrow Gulf Coast peninsula between the Gulf of Mexico (Mexico, Gulf of) (south) and Back Bay of Biloxi (north).In 1699 the explorer Pierre Le Moyne d'Iberville (Iberville, Pierre Le Moyne d') planted the French flag across Biloxi Bay at Old Biloxi (now Ocean Springs). The settlement there, at Fort Maurepas, was the first capital (1699–1702) of the Louisiana Territory. Fort Louis, the site of present-day Biloxi, was the territorial capital circa 1719–22. Since its founding, Biloxi has been under the flags of France, Spain, Great Britain, the West Florida Republic, the Confederacy, and the United States. During the American Civil War, it submitted to Union forces from Fort Massachusetts on Ship Island (12 miles [19 km] offshore and now part of Gulf Islands National Seashore). The city is named for the Biloxi, a Native American people who once inhabited the area; the name is thought to mean “first people.” Biloxi, on the Gulf Coast, is subject to periodic devastating hurricanes (tropical cyclones), including Hurricane Camille in 1969 and the even more destructive Hurricane Katrina (Katrina, Hurricane) in 2005.Beginning in the 1990s, casino gambling became one of Biloxi's chief economic activities, with several casinos located in the city. Government services and seafood processing are also important. Annual festivals include the blessing of the shrimp fleet and the Biloxi Mardi Gras. Beauvoir, the home of former Confederate president Jefferson Davis (Davis, Jefferson) for the last 12 years of his life, is 5 miles (8 km) west; it was heavily damaged by Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Keesler Air Force Base is in the city. Inc. village, 1838; city, 1896. Pop. (1990) city, 46,319; Biloxi-Gulfport-Pascagoula MSA, 312,368; (2000) city, 50,644; Gulfport-Biloxi MSA, 246,190.
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